Belfast Telegraph

City's Lord Mayor to deliver upbeat assessment of Brexit

The Lord Mayor of the City of London will declare that "Brexit will be successful" when he addresses Square Mile representatives at an annual banquet at the Mansion House on Wednesday.

Lord Mayor Jeffrey Mountevans is expected to give a bright forecast for the financial services sector, despite fears that Brexit could usher in tariffs and tear up essential passporting rights.

As part of his speech to financial regulators and City bigwigs, Lord Mountevans will say: "We have two options. We can sit and wait and see what happens. Or we can be proactive, and develop plans for what a successful Brexit might look like.

"And make no mistake: based on the UK's unique cluster of qualities and quantities, Brexit will be successful. There is a reason why the City is the EU's financial capital."

He is also set to single out Britain's financial regulators for providing a steady hand after the vote.

"With Brexit looming, we need as much stability as we can get. So I welcome the regulators' calm post-referendum interventions that have helped soothe the markets."

But to maintain "positive momentum" Lord Mountevans will urge continued cooperation between financial services and regulatory bodies including the Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulation Authority and Bank of England.

"Regulation that safeguards both incumbent and disruptive practitioners. Regulation that will continue to protect our competitiveness and provide liberal market influence across the EU, even after Brexit," Lord Mountevans will say.

Last month, the Lord Mayor said that the City was lobbying the Government to ensure it retained access to the single market and the ability to recruit key staff from the EU.

Questions around the future of Britain's financial services has prompted government representatives including Chancellor Philip Hammond to vow to protect the sector.

A report released by the Government's UK Trade & Investment department earlier this year showed that financial and related professional services accounted for about 11.8% of gross domestic product (GDP), employing around two million people across the UK.

The Chancellor on Tuesday assured the financial services will be at the "heart" of Brexit negotiations, saying there is "no likelihood" migration controls will affect highly skilled workers.